The Walt Disney Company released its earnings for the first fiscal quarter of 2020 on Tuesday (Feb. 4), reporting a spike in revenue and a whopping 26.5 million subscribers for subscription streaming service Disney+, which launched just under three months ago.
Revenues, up 36% from the year-ago quarter, landed at US$20.9 billion — up from $19.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019. Diluted earnings per share (EPS) from continuing operations for the quarter dipped to $1.17 from $1.86 in the prior-year quarter.
Media networks revenue jumped 24% from the year-ago quarter to $7.36 billion, with cable networks’ revenue climbing 20% to $4.8 billion and broadcasting rising 34% to $2.6 billion.
The mass media company’s direct-to-consumer and international segment landed at just under $4 billion, with an increase in operating losses from $136 million to $693 million.
Those losses were largely due to the costs associated with the launch of Disney+ — which rolled out in the U.S., Canada and Netherlands on Nov. 12, 2019 — the consolidation of Hulu — which began March 20, 2019 — and losses at ESPN+ resulting from higher programming costs.
ESPN+ paid subscribers for the quarter totaled 6.6 million; Hulu sat at 30.4 million.
“We had a strong first quarter, highlighted by the launch of Disney+, which has exceeded even our greatest expectations,” Robert Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, said in a statement. “Thanks to our incredible collection of brands, outstanding content from our creative engines and state-of-the-art technology, we believe our direct-to-consumer services, including Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu, position us well for continued growth in today’s dynamic media environment.”